Associate Professor Dr. Ngo Minh Thuy promotes Japanese language education in Vietnam

Associate Professor Doctor Ngo Minh Thuy, Vice President of the University of Languages (ULIS) and International Studies of the Vietnam National University (VNU), is among four honorees honored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for her outstanding contributions to Japan’s external affairs and Japan-Vietnam relations.

When Ngo Minh Thuy became a lecturer at ULIS, she used Russian language – the language that she studied from an early age, in her teaching and research. In 1992, her predestined relationship with Japanese language came when it was taught as a second language at the university.

In 1996, Ngo Minh Thuy won a Japanese government scholarship. By that time, she had completed her Bachelor in English and Master’s thesis in Russian. At the age of 32, in April 1997, Thuy went to Japan and started studying Japanese and quickly adapted thanks to her experience in learning and teaching Russian and English. After two years of study and research in Tokyo University of Foreign studies, she moved to the University of Tsukuba and completed her second Master’s degree in April 2001.

After returning to Vietnam, she took exams and entered the PhD. course of linguistics at the Institute of Linguistics, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) and completed her PhD degree in 2006. She was appointed as Associate Professor in 2012.

In 2003, when Vietnam launched the “Japanese Language Education in Secondary Schools Pilot Project”, Ngo Minh Thuy was chosen to be the co-author of the curriculum design and the Japanese textbooks for secondary students. At ULIS, Thuy and her colleagues developed other Japanese language programs including Japanese language pedagogy, Japanese language programs for students of foreign language specialized schools, Japanese part-time education, Master’s degree in Japanese language, and high-quality Japanese language programs.

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy, Vice President of the University of Languages (ULIS) and International Studies of the Vietnam National University (VNU), who builds a bridge of educational and cultural cooperation between Vietnam and Japan. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

On behalf of ULIS, Vice President Ngo Minh Thuy receives the Certificate of Merit from the Japanese Ambassador for its contributions to the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Japan. Photo: Files

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy participated in the annual conference of the Asia Japan Alumni (ASJA) in Hanoi in 2015. Photo: Files

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy and the Ambassador of Japan to Vietnam Umeda Kunio at the Embassy of Japan. Photo: Files

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy attends the regular meeting of Vietnam Japan University Council as the Council’s secretary. Photo: Files

Through difficulties, Thuy has gradually worked with her colleagues to promote the spread of the Japanese language in Vietnam’s education system. For secondary education in Vietnam, the number of Japanese language learners increased to more than 25,000 now, from one experimental class at Chu Van An Junior High School in 2004. Currently, Japanese continues to be taught in elementary schools in Vietnam.

In 2002, Thuy was assigned to be the secretary of the Editorial board of Japanese Language Teaching Program for higher education. Thuy and her colleagues established many new training programs including Bachelor degree in Japanese pedagogy. Until now, this is still the first and only training program for Japanese language teachers at universities in Vietnam.

On July 23, 2019, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs honored four Vietnamese citizens for their contributions to enhance the understanding between Vietnam and Japan, as well as achievements in Japanese language training in Vietnam, among whom was Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy.

Along with the development of Japanese training programs, Ngo Minh Thuy has cooperated with her colleagues to organize international events and many workshops and conferences, including an international workshop on Japanese teaching and studies in Vietnam held for the first time in 2007, which has the largest scale in Vietnam to date. With such activities, Japanese training unit of ULIS has contributed to the development of Japanese language education in Vietnam.

In addition, Ngo Minh Thuy also edited many textbooks and documents on Japanese language teaching. Up to now, she is the editor and co-author of 32 Japanese textbooks for secondary education. She has also been the team leader and co-author of five Japanese language training programs on the Voice of Vietnam, conducted over five years (2008-2013).

Ngo Minh Thuy published monographs on Japanese idioms, books on Japanese culture and literature, books on Vietnamese language for Japanese learners, guidebooks on Vietnamese education system published in Japan. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ngo Minh Thuy was twice (in October 2013 and April 2019) awarded the Certificate of Merit by the Minister of Education of Vietnam for her outstanding achievements in the establishment of Japanese language program for Vietnam’s education system.

A team of Japanese and Vietnamese experts participate in the compilation of elementary Japanese textbooks. Photo: Files

Elementary Japanese textbooks authored by Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy works with officials of the Politics & Student Affairs Office to prepare for the start of the new school year. Photo: Tran Thanh Giang

A group of volunteer students took a photo with Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy at 2018 JASSO Japan Education Workshop. Photo: Files

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy and student volunteers prepare to welcome first-year students. Photo: Files

Assoc. Prof. Ngo Minh Thuy meets with students who participate in the national defense and security education program in Hoa Lac. Photo: Files

Currently, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ngo Minh Thuy is Vice President of the Vietnam – Japan Friendship Association (VJFA) and Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Japan Alumni (the former name is Japan Alumni of Vietnam – JAV).

As a person who promotes cultural and educational exchanges between Vietnam and Japan, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ngo Minh Thuy is responsible for planning and directing the implementation of educational activities and student exchanges between the two countries. She is also one of the key persons to bring many scholarships for Vietnamese pupils and students of Vietnam.

Story: Bich Van – Photos: Thanh Giang and Files